The Yes Men | The Common App
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The Common App

Reveal Date

June 5, 2013


Education, Immigration

DREAMers Keep On Dreaming


The college application process is a grueling rite of passage for many high-schoolers, but for students without papers (called DREAMers), it can be an insurmountable wall. Despite having grown up in the U.S., as many as 95% of undocumented youth never get a chance at higher education. College applications force undocumented applicants to identify as “other” or “international,” ensuring them a separate and unequal admissions process. One such application—and the target of an elaborate hoax—is the Common Application, an online application accepted by upwards of 500 private colleges in the U.S.


On Thursday May 30, “Daniel Vargas,” Communications Director of the Common Application, made an announcement saying the new version of the app would remove systemic barriers to higher education faced by undocumented students by (1) allowing them to identify themselves as “undocumented American” in the application; and (2) adding “undocumented status” to the organization’s non-discrimination clause. Fittingly, the announcement was made at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) in New Orleans, and was well received among the conference attendees. Many, like the President of Barnard College and U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, took to social media to express support, and several news outlets happily reported the policy change.


But after several inquiries from journalists, the Common App was forced to deny they had any such plans to end discrimination against undocumented applicants and maintained that no “Daniel Vargas” had ever worked for them. In fact, the announcement was issued by undocumented activist David Ramirez, who, along with some friends, had contacted the Yes Lab for help in pulling off this optimistic stunt. Perhaps one day the millions of undocumented Americans facing such barriers will really get the good news they deserve.


Read the press release here.

Read the announcement at NCORE here.

Read the reveal release here.


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